Twitter Is Already a Graveyard, Leaked Report Suggests

Despite boasting millions of "monetizable daily active users," a leaked internal report called "Where Did All the Tweeters Go?" paints a picture of a relative ghost town for posts.
Twitter Is Already a Graveyard, Leaked Report Suggests
Andrew Burton / Staff via Getty Images

Internal documents seen by Reuters show that Twitter is struggling to keep "heavy users" who account for less than 10 percent of monthly overall users but generate 90 percent of all tweets and half of global revenue, the outlet reported on Tuesday. 

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What is a heavy tweeter you ask? Someone who logs into Twitter six or seven days a week and tweets about three to four times a week. I shudder thinking of what they call those of us who post incessantly, and I shudder more to think of the implications for the website so many of us spend so much time on: When the 10 percent of users who make up 90 percent of the traffic don't even post daily, what about the other 90 percent of accounts? Are we all just talking to ourselves?

In an internal document titled "Where did the Tweeters Go?" Twitter warns that heavy users are in "absolute decline" since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The document also suggests that advertisers may grow less interested in the platform because of the growth of NSFW content alongside cryptocurrency spam in its English-speaking markets. Interest in news, sports, and entertainment is down—a problem as those are much more desirable for advertisers. 

This news comes to us just as Musk is poised to buy Twitter for $44 billion, an acquisition he fought to get out of in court but reneged on his attempt to renege a few days after relevant text messages were shared as part of the trial.

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The growth of crypto content in particular is only likely to grow for a few reasons. Despite his claims to be purchasing twitter to crack down on bots, Musk’s reported plans to fire 75 percent of the company's employees would leave it ill-equipped to handle cryptocurrency scams that have plagued the site for years and grown in number and complexity. 

Changes in demographics of English speaking users, specifically those in the United States, are of the utmost importance for the company and its advertiser revenue. In its 2021 letter to shareholders, Twitter revealed US accounts for $785 million compared to $628 million outside of the United States. Ironically enough, however, one result toted in its letter was revenue drawn from gambling and cryptocurrency—the same category which the internal memo warned would curtail its future revenues.

"As an example,” the letter reads, “Voyager launched a new promotion on Twitter to drive app installs and reach crypto enthusiasts in a competitive market, delivering almost 370 million impressions and a 112% increase in app installs."

Earlier this summer, Voyager also made headlines when it became one of the first crypto lenders to go bankrupt after a liquidity crisis sparked by collapse of the Terra ecosystem, which was then compounded by a bear market that crushed the value of assets on its platform. Voyager eventually entered into a court-approved deal with crypto exchange FTX to sell its crypto holdings for $1.4 billion.

“We regularly conduct research on a wide variety of trends, which evolve based on what’s happening in the world,” Twitter said in a statement to Motherboard. “Our overall audience has continued to grow, reaching 238 million mDAU [monetizable daily active users] in Q2 2022.”

Twitter did see an increase in monetizable daily active users for Q2 2022, but one has to wonder what that really means considering the leaked report, which says even "heavy users" only post a couple times a week. It also reported a decline in revenue and a $270 million loss, which Twitter claims was because of uncertainty around Musk’s acquisition and advertiser concerns about an impending recession. Twitter is expected to release its third quarter earnings within the week, so maybe we’ll be able to have a better sense of what is going on here soon.